CONCORD — The legacy of Zech DeVits lives on, as NHTI hosts its 14th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Benefit on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 4:00 pm in the Goldie Crocker Wellness Center. This year’s competition will feature a team comprised of NHTI students coordinated by Athletic Director Paul Hogan. The opposing team is made up of NHTI faculty, administrators and staff, backed by players from event sponsors Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) and the NH Spinal Cord Injury Association.
Admission is by donation (free for NHTI students), and proceeds from the game and accompanying silent auction and 50/50 raffle will be matched by the NHTI Student Senate to help purchase assistive technology for students with disabilities. Last year’s event raised nearly $2,000, and provided items including noise cancelling headsets, Smart Pens and digital recorders for the equipment loan program, a subscription to Learning Ally audio books, and text-to-voice software for NHTI students with disabilities.
Zech DeVits, for whom the event is named, died at age 22 in 2005, just weeks before graduating from NHTI with an Associate degree in Addiction Counseling. Born with gigantism, a rare genetic condition, and skeletal dysplasia, Zech had used a wheelchair since age six. Despite his towering 7’8” frame and large features, Zech quickly became a beloved role model on campus. The first wheelchair benefit evolved as part of an education course project in which students raised funds to help refurbish Zech’s wheelchair-accessible van. The campus continues to hold the event in his memory, raising money to help other students with disabilities purchase assistive equipment.
Dr. Beverly Boggess, Disabilities Coordinator at NHTI, says, “After Zech’s death, the Disabilities Advisory Board, NHTI organizations, and Granite State Independent Living partnered to continue the benefit annually in remembrance of Zech’s positive impact and generous nature.” All qualified NHTI students with documented disabilities are encouraged to apply for assistive technology through the Zech DeVits Memorial Equipment Fund.
Dr. Charles Lloyd, Associate VP of Student Affairs, knew Zech as one of his Alternative Spring Break Club volunteers. “Zech touched so many lives in a positive way, and it is for this reason that he has left such a lasting legacy at NHTI.”
Contact: Mindy Carlisle, Disabilities Senior Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, (603) 271-6484 x4132.
PHOTO: Beverly Boggess (left) and Mindy Carlisle of NHTI Disabilities Services, and Mark Race (right) of GSIL, a childhood friend and mentor of Zech DeVits, with a portait of Zech created by NHTI Visual Arts department head Susan Haas.